Zlatko Dalić

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Zlatko Dalić
Zlatko Dalić Croatia (cropped).jpg
Dalić as Croatia manager at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Zlatko Dalić
Date of birth (1966-10-26) 26 October 1966 (age 54)
Place of birth Livno, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
Croatia (manager)
Youth career
Troglav 1918
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1986 Hajduk Split 4 (0)
1986–1987 Dinamo Vinkovci 12 (0)
1987–1988 Hajduk Split 5 (0)
1988–1989 Budućnost Titograd 7 (0)
1989–1991 Velež Mostar 37 (3)
1992–1996 Varteks 108 (13)
1996–1998 Hajduk Split 28 (1)
1998Varteks (loan) 11 (1)
1998–2000 Varteks 36 (3)
Total 247 (23)
Teams managed
2004 Varteks (interim)
2005–2007 Varteks
2007–2008 Rijeka
2008–2009 Dinamo Tirana
2009–2010 Slaven Belupo
2010–2012 Al-Faisaly
2012–2013 Al-Hilal B
2013 Al-Hilal
2014–2017 Al Ain
2017– Croatia
Honours
Men's football
Representing  Croatia (as manager)
FIFA World Cup
Runner-up 2018
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Zlatko Dalić (Croatian pronunciation: [zlâtko dǎːlitɕ];[1][2] born 26 October 1966) is a Croatian professional football manager and former player who is the manager of the Croatia national team.

Playing career[edit]

During his time as a player, Dalić played for a number of clubs.

He started off his youth career at Troglav 1918 Livno, before joining Hajduk Split in 1983 and thus starting his senior career. He stayed at Hajduk Split until 1986, after joining Cibalia, which was at that time known as Dinamo Vinkovci. Apart from Hajduk Split and Cibalia, Dalić also played for Budućnost Titograd, Velež Mostar and Varteks. He finished his career in 2000 at Varteks.

Coaching career[edit]

Varteks[edit]

After ending his playing career in 2000, he became assistant coach at Varteks. From May 2002 to May 2005, Dalić worked as the club's sports director, and during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons he simultaneously acted as assistant coach for Miroslav Blažević.

In May 2005, he was appointed manager of Varteks and in his first season at the helm he won third place in the Croatian First League and reached the final of the Croatian Cup. In the first leg of the final, which was played in Rijeka, Varteks lost 0–4 to HNK Rijeka. In the second leg in Varaždin, Dalić nearly created a sensation leading the team to a 5–1 win, but they were one goal short from lifting the silverware.[3]

Rijeka[edit]

In the summer of 2007, after his contract with Varteks ended, he became manager of Rijeka, and finished fourth at the end of the 2007–08 season. After being knocked out of the 2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup by FK Renova, Dalić was sacked on 1 July 2008 just before the start of the season.[4]

Dinamo Tirana[edit]

In the 2008–09 season, Dalić managed Albanian champions Dinamo Tirana, with whom he won the Albanian Supercup.[5] He resigned in February 2009 after losing two derbies in a row versus fellow capital teams Tirana and Partizani.[6]

Slaven Belupo[edit]

After a short stint in Albania, he returned to Croatia in 2009 and took over his third Croatian football club, Slaven Belupo.[7]

Al-Faisaly[edit]

In the 2010–11 season, he became head coach of Al-Faisaly. At the end of the 2010–11 season under Dalić the club enjoyed the greatest success in its history, qualifying for the King's Cup in the Saudi Professional League.[8] Dalić was named Coach of the Year in the Saudi Professional League for the 2010–11 season by Al Riyadh newspapers.[9] In the selection, he beat other more famous coaches working in Saudi Arabia at the time, such as Gabriel Calderón, Walter Zenga and Eric Gerets.

Al-Hilal[edit]

Dalić beside Amir Ghalenoei before an Al-Hilal match against Esteghlal during the 2013 AFC Champions League

On 3 May 2012, Dalić signed a contract with Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal to manage their B team. On 30 January, Al-Hilal agreed with Dalić to coach the first team following the sacking of Antoine Kombouaré.[10] On 9 February 2013, he made his managerial debut with Al-Hilal against his old club Al-Faisaly in the semi-final of the 2012–13 Saudi Crown Prince Cup. Dalić eventually led Al-Hilal to the cup title–the team's sixth consecutive win–which was also Dalić's second major title in his coaching career.[11] During the 2013–14 season, he was the main candidate for the position of sports director at Croatian powerhouse Hajduk Split, but turned down the offer from one of the biggest clubs in Croatian football.[12]

Al-Ain[edit]

Zlatko Dalić managing Al-Ain against Naft Tehran, during the 2015 AFC Champions League

On 8 March 2014, Dalić was appointed manager of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates after the team had sacked Quique Sánchez Flores.[13] In his first season, he led the team to finish top of their group in the 2014 AFC Champions League, which was the first time since 2006 that the club progressed through the group stage.[14] On 30 April 2014, Al-Ain announced that Dalić would remain head coach for the next two seasons.[15] In the round of sixteen of the 2014 AFC Champions League, Al-Ain beat Al-Jazira by 4–2 to advance to the quarter-finals; in the quarter-finals, the team beat Al-Ittihad 5–1 to advance to the semi-finals, ultimately losing 4–2 to Al-Hilal, which was Dalić's former team.[16]

On 18 May 2014, Al-Ain won the final game of UAE President's Cup against league champions Al-Ahli 1–0, which secured Dalić's first trophy as manager of Al-Ain.[17]

Dalić won the title of Best Coach of 2014 for his performances; at the end of the first round of the UAE Pro-League, Al–Ain took the first position with one game in hand.[18] Eventually, Al-Ain won their 12th UAE Pro-League title in the 2014–15 season.[19] The club finished the season 11 points above runners-up Al Jazira and Al Shabab Dubai, only losing two games throughout the season; in this season, they also achieved several records, namely conceding the fewest goals (19), the longest unbeaten run (15 matches), the longest winning run (8 matches), and the biggest home win against Ajman (7–1).[20]

On 12 July 2015, Dalić received the Coach of the Year accolade during the UAE Pro-League award ceremony for the 2014–15 UAE Pro-League season for guiding his side to winning the league title.[21]

Dalić's first match of the 2015–16 season was a UAE Super Cup match between Al-Ain and Al-Nasr Dubai, played on 15 August and resulted in victory for Al-Ain, which won 4–2.[22] Following a 3–0 win against Al-Ahli Dubai in the 10th round of the UAE Pro-League on 5 December, Dalić became the best coach in the league's history since it turned professional,[23] though Al-Ain ultimately finished second in the league in 2016.[24] The club also reached the 2016 AFC Champions League final, ultimately losing 2–3 to Jeonbuk Motors.[25]

Dalić's tenure as manager of Al-Ain saw the club rise rapidly in the Football Database Ranking; initially, the club was ranked 335th in March 2014, when Dalić arrived, and by the time of his departure, the club was ranked 122nd in the world, also reaching 5th position in Asia, according to the ranking.[26]

Dalić formally departed Al-Ain in January 2017, citing a "need for rest" as his reason for departing.[27]

Croatia[edit]

Zlatko Dalić during a Croatia training session; ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup

On 7 October 2017, following the sacking of Ante Čačić due to a series of poor results, the Croatian Football Federation named Dalić as the head coach of the Croatia national football team.[28] Upon arriving, Dalić announced that he would only remain head coach if Croatia qualifies for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and that the HNS would decide his future if Croatia miss out on qualifying for the finals.[29]

On 9 October, Dalić led Croatia to a 2–0 win over Ukraine in 2018 World Cup qualifying, which also secured second place in their group, and a place in the play-off round.[30] On 19 October, Dalić named Ivica Olić, former Croatia international player, as his assistant manager. Croatia drew Greece in the play-off round, and on 9 November, Dalić led the team to a 4–1 first-leg triumph over Greece, all but securing a place in the 2018 World Cup.[31] In the return leg, on 12 November, Croatia drew with Greece 0–0, but won 4–1 on aggregate, thus securing a place in the World Cup finals.[32] Following this, Dalić officially signed a contract with the Croatian Football Federation, running until 30 July 2020, and would reportedly earn around €500,000 per year.[33]

Croatia drew a challenging group, with the likes of Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland.[34][35] On 16 June, Croatia won their opening match of the 2018 World Cup, beating Nigeria by a scoreline of 2–0.[36] However, during the game, forward Nikola Kalinić had refused to come on as a late substitute, citing a back injury as his excuse, although he had used this excuse earlier during a friendly match against Brazil, as well as the previous training session.[37] This prompted Dalić to send him home on just the fifth day of the tournament.[38] Dalić stated that he needed "prepared players, while Kalinić did not show up at three occasions".[39] Dalić received praise for his treatment of Kalinić, with some stating that he had cemented his position as a head coach with the decision.[40] On 21 June, Croatia overwhelmed football heavyweights Argentina, winning by a scoreline of 3–0, with Ante Rebić, Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić scoring the goals.[41][42] The victory led Croatia to a spot in the knockout stage for the first time since the 1998 FIFA World Cup, in which they finished third place.[43] On 26 June, Croatia topped their group with maximum points following a 2–1 win over Iceland, and drew Denmark in the round of sixteen, advancing after a penalty shootout.[44][45][46] Croatia again won through a penalty shootout against hosts Russia in the quarter-finals, setting up a semi-final tie against England.[47][48] On 11 July, Croatia beat England 2–1, advancing to the final, where they lost 4–2 to France on 15 July.[49][50] For the achievement, he received the Franjo Bučar State Award for Sport Yearly Award.[51]

In the inaugural edition of UEFA Nations League, Croatia was drawn in the same group as Spain and England.[52][53] Croatia opened their Nations League campaign on 11 September with a disastrous 6–0 defeat to Spain in Elche.[54] However, on 15 November, Croatia managed to get revenge with a 3–2 victory in Zagreb.[55] Nevertheless, due to a goalless draw with England in Rijeka on 12 October[56] and a 2–1 defeat in London on 18 November, Croatia were relegated to League B.[57] However, due to a format change, Croatia avoided relegation and remained in League A.[58]

Croatia entered their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign poorly with narrow 2–1 home victories over Azerbaijan and Wales, and an upset 2–1 away defeat to Hungary.[59][60][61] However, Croatia returned to form beating Slovakia 4–0 away in Trnava. On 16 November 2019, in their last qualifying match, Croatia beat Slovakia 3–1 in Rijeka, topping the group and securing their place at the finals.[62][63] Applauded for his successful handling of the national team after the retirement of some prominent internationals such as Mario Mandžukić and Danijel Subašić, successful integration of new names such as Bruno Petković, Josip Brekalo and Nikola Vlašić into the team and successful qualifying campaign, Dalić signed a new contract on 23 July 2020 with the Croatian Football Federation that kept him at the position of Croatia manager until the end of 2022, earning an annual salary of €1.6 million.[64][65]

Croatia entered their UEFA Nations League campaign poorly, losing heavily to Portugal and France away, 4–1 and 4–2 respectively.[66][67] After beating Sweden 2–1 at home,[68] Croatia failed to win any of the rest of the matches. They finished third in their group and avoided relegation to League B solely due to having better goal difference than last-placed Sweden.[69][70] Croatia also notably conceded more goals than any other team in the Nations League.[71] This caused general public to call upon Dalić to resign.[72]

Personal life[edit]

Born on 26 October 1966, in Livno, then a part of SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, within SFR Yugoslavia, today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dalić comes from a Catholic Croat family of mother Kata and father Ivan Dalić.[73][74] He holds Croatian citizenship.

In 1992, Dalić married his wife Davorka Propadalo, whom he met at a high school in Livno.[75] They have together two sons, Toni and Bruno.[76][77] Dalić is a practicing Roman Catholic.[78][79]

Playing statistics[edit]

Source:[80]

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Yugoslavia League Yugoslav Cup Europe Total
1983–84 Hajduk Split Yugoslav First League 0 0 0 0
1984–85 0 0 0 0
1985–86 4 0 1 0 0 0 5 0
1986–87 Dinamo Vinkovci (loan) 12 0 1 0 13 0
1987–88 Hajduk Split 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1988–89 Budućnost Titograd 7 0 7 0
1989–90 Velež Mostar 24 1 24 1
1990–91 12 2 1 0 13 2
Croatia League Croatian Cup Europe Total
1992–93 Varteks Prva HNL 22 2 6 0 13 1
1993–94 32 8 5 1 37 9
1994–95 27 3 5 0 32 3
1995–96 27 0 9 3 36 3
1996–97 Hajduk Split 22 1 1 1 2 0 25 2
1997–98 6 0 1 0 3 0 10 0
Varteks (loan) 11 1 2 0 13 1
1998–99 Varteks 23 2 3 0 5 0 31 2
1999–00 13 1 2 0 5 0 20 1
Country Yugoslavia 64 3 3 0 0 0 67 3
Croatia 183 18 34 5 15 0 232 23
Total 247 23 37 5 15 0 299 28

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 13 June 2021

Source:[81][82]

Team From To Competition Record
G W D L Win % GF GA +/-
Varteks Varaždin 11 September 2004 18 September 2004 Prva HNL 2 1 0 1 050.00 4 3 +1
Varteks Varaždin 20 July 2005 19 May 2007 Prva HNL 65 27 8 30 041.54 100 110 -10
Croatian Cup 9 5 2 2 055.56 22 14 +8
UEFA Cup 2 0 1 1 000.00 21 3 -2
UEFA Intertoto Cup 6 2 2 2 033.33 13 13 0
Varteks Varaždin Total 84 35 13 36 041.67 160 143 -17
Rijeka 20 July 2007 28 June 2008 Prva HNL 33 14 11 8 042.42 53 41 +12
Croatian Cup 2 0 1 1 000.00 4 3 +1
UEFA Intertoto Cup 6 2 2 2 033.33 0 2 -2
Rijeka Total 41 16 14 11 039.02 57 46 +11
Dinamo Tirana 17 August 2008 4 February 2009 Superliga 19 7 8 4 036.84 23 14 +9
Albanian Cup 3 2 0 1 066.67 5 1 +4
Albanian Supercup 1 1 0 0 100.00 2 0 +2
Dinamo Tirana Total 23 10 8 5 043.48 30 15 +15
Slaven Belupo 9 August 2009 13 May 2010 Prva HNL 28 10 10 8 035.71 42 43 -1
Croatian Cup 4 2 0 2 050.00 4 6 -2
Slaven Belupo Total 32 12 10 10 037.50 46 49 -3
Al-Faisaly 15 August 2010 27 April 2012 Professional League 52 17 14 21 032.69 75 88 -13
Kings Cup 2 0 0 2 000.00 1 8 -7
Saudi Crown Prince Cup 1 0 0 1 000.00 3 5 -2
Al-Faisaly Total 55 17 14 24 030.91 79 101 -22
Al-Hilal 9 February 2013 22 May 2013 Professional League 8 5 2 1 062.50 16 9 +5
Kings Cup 2 1 1 0 050.00 3 4 -1
Saudi Crown Prince Cup 2 1 1 0 050.00 2 1 +1
AFC Champions League 8 4 2 2 050.00 11 9 +2
Al-Hilal Total 20 11 6 3 055.00 32 23 +9
Al-Ain 12 March 2014 23 January 2017 Pro-League 93 57 20 16 061.29 187 96 +91
UAE President's Cup 9 4 3 2 044.44 21 8 +13
Arabian Gulf Cup 18 5 5 8 027.78 27 34 -7
UAE Super Cup 2 1 0 1 050.00 4 3 +1
AFC Champions League 33 16 12 5 048.48 52 31 +10
Al-Ain Total 155 83 40 32 053.55 291 217 +74
Croatia 7 October 2017 Present FIFA World Cup 7 4 2 1 057.14 14 9 +5
FIFA World Cup qualification 6 4 1 1 066.67 10 2 +8
UEFA European Championship 1 0 0 1 000.00 0 1 -1
UEFA Euro qualifying 8 5 2 1 062.50 17 7 +10
UEFA Nations League 10 2 1 7 020.00 13 26 -13
Friendly matches 12 5 3 4 041.67 15 16 -1
Croatia Total 44 22 7 15 050.00 69 61 +8
Total 454 206 112 136 045.37 764 655 +109

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Hajduk Split

Manager[edit]

Varteks

Dinamo Tirana

Al-Hilal

Al-Ain

Croatia

Bibliography[edit]

  • Rusija naših snova (eng. Russia of Our Dreams) (2018)

Orders[edit]

References[edit]

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